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Inkscape Tutorial - The Sun

Date/Time Permalink: 07/19/07 09:20:32 am
Category: Graphics Tutorials

smilin sun

Half of the battle in graphic design is working smarter, not harder. I've done some tutorials for Gimp which push that tool to its limits, but too many folks focus on Gimp and forget that we have a whole arsenal of power graphics tools on the Linux desktop. Here is one image which would have been a pain to do in Gimp, but a snap in Inkscape.

I'm assuming you know the basics of Inkscape editing. If not, head on over the one of the best manuals for any graphics tool I've ever read, "A Guide to Inkscape". Inkscape is much easier to learn than Gimp, anyway.

How to Draw a Sun in Inkscape

1. First, draw a circle. Keep it to the grid to ensure that it's round. Give it a radial gradient (Ctrl-Shift-F to get the fill 'n' stroke dialog) of yellow-to-orange. Use the path-edit tool to move the gradient slightly off-center to the upper left.

step 1

2. Use the Bezier curve tool to click out a two-stroke path. That is, click once, move straight down and click again, move back to the first node and click to close. Use the path edit tool to drag the two lines of this figure into a curve as shown. Color the object's stroke and fill with the same gradient you used for the circle, but reverse it for the stroke.

step 2

3. With the new shape selected, hit 'Ctrl-D' to duplicate it, then use the angle-bracket keys < > to shrink it and the cursor-arrow keys to move it. Move it snugged next to the first shape. Keep duplicating, resizing, and moving until you have a nice curvy flare. Then draw a selection box around the whole set and Ctrl-G to the shapes a group. Move the grouped flare to the top of the circle, resizing if necessary. Ctrl-D the flare and - ah, ah, ah! don't use 'v' to flip it vertically! - hit Ctrl-] (Control+square bracket) twice to spin it upside down. Then move it below the circle. Last, select and shift-select the two flares and hit Ctrl-G to group them again.

step 3

4. Now we're going to do a magic trick. Select the two grouped flares, and from the 'edit' menu choose clone-> "create tiled clones". This dialog is big and complicated-looking, but here's the basic steps:

  • For rows/columns, enter 1x24.
  • In the 'shift' tab, enter "-100.0" for the value of shift X per column.
  • In the 'rotation' tab, enter "15.0" for the value of angle per column.
  • Click 'Create'.

If you're lucky, you got it on the first try!

step 4

5. Draw the face. No, don't squeal; a few path edits and you're there! When you're finished with the parts, select them all and Ctrl-shift-+ (Control Shift Plus) to group them all into one path object.

step 5

6. Move the face onto the sun, and select *everything* and hit Ctrl-G to group them. Now in the 'file' menu, select 'export bitmap'. Give your image a name in the dialog - I always use .png format when exporting an image from vector - and save it. Be sure in your document preferences that you are saving with a transparent background (this is the default), so that it will be easily editable later.

step 6

7. You can now open the finished image in Gimp, and do whatever post-processing you care to. Here's another version I did, with some Gimp post-processing, adding a bump-map, sky gradient background, beveled border, and shrinking down to icon size.

finished Sun

Little on the Pagan side, isn't it?

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suddenly the moon